Should You Read Blogs? – Cons

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” — Bill Watterson

So, yesterday’s Blogging 101 assignment was to write about your Ideal Reader. It got me thinking if reading blogs were worth our time at all. Of course, I wrote about the pros yesterday, but reading blogs, especially too much, is not always a good idea. And here’s why:

1. Blogs Can Complement Books and Press, Not Replace Them

I can’t find the exact link, but there was an article in either Forbes or Inc that went like this. Value of information between a column article and a book can be compared by the amount of time spent in researching them. A columnist in a respected magazine spends almost a month to publish an article, whereas it takes at least a year to write a book. So the information you get from reading an article is worth a month’s research and book is at least a year’s research and labor condensed into few hundred pages. How does blog posts compare to that? I can’t say a definitive answer, but definitely lower. For instance, I have been writing one article for Cracked.com for the last month and a half. (On that note, Yeah baby!) Even the images require a lot of research. But I’ve been known to write one post in one morning, drafting, image research, editing and everything. Which is why…

2. Not All Blogs Are Professional

Including this one. We live in a world of information overload, almost to the point of becoming several degree of autistic. (I think this is where you laugh now. Or cry, I don’t know.) With this predicament, it’s hard to spend time–let alone commit to follow–blogs that have:

a) poor spelling and design,

b) uninteresting content,

c) awfully lot TMI about their personal life, and

d) disorganized writing that doesn’t always reach the standard of journalism or content writing.

Sorry, folks. I’m also guilty of these. But we’re all learning, am I right?

3. Most Blogs Have No Strategy (Ideally They Should Either Go Pro or Evangelic)

When I think about good blogs that accumulated regular followers, only Seth Godin and Maria Popova comes to mind. The dude was an idea machine and a marketing genius. I recommend his TED talk video on what makes ideas go viral. What he did was go full throttle in giving marketing and blogging advice and becoming an expert in that field. Maria Popova, on the other hand, collected inspiring quotes and information bits on her blogs Brain Pickings. She spread out any new discovery about authors (some of which she uncovered herself) and passionately advocated the importance of following famous author’s advices on life, writing and happiness. These people are well-renowned now, because what they provided have been good values that readers mostly expect from a blog: either to be a pro, and if not, relay good information like an evangelist.

4. Unfettered Reading Yields Less Productivity

While reading other people’s blogs and getting touch is vital, (trust me, it makes all the difference) few people have told me that they spend too much time reading other people’s blogs and not writing anything on their own. Let’s face it, you’re probably reading this because you’re a word nerd and you dig reading AND writing. So make sure to balance the two and write as much as you read. I for one use the WordPress mobile app on my smartphone and the Reader is pretty efficient–it shows previews of the posts from the blogs you are subscribed to. I think I should structure my time to keep tabs on the people I follow, get inspired, leave a few comments and get back to my own writing. I’m still working on this one, so anyone’s tips will be appreciated.

So these are four cons I have came up with. If you looked for Blogging101 exercises, today’s assignments were to experiment with the themes of my blog. Don’t freak out if the visual appearance of this blog changes suddenly.

Disclaimer: I’m neither an expert, nor a newbie. What’s stated above are purely my thoughts–my sloppy morning thoughts. So critical thinking and commenting is advised. In other words, call out my bullshits, if you find any, deal?

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11 thoughts on “Should You Read Blogs? – Cons

  1. Good points. I especially agree with you about needing to write as much as we read. I definitely am “a word nerd,” as you said so well, and I do read much more than I write. I have to change that; I recently was thinking that even if I don’t publish everything I write, I do need to be more active in that regard. Thanks for the reminder — and the motivation! And I love your relatable approach in sharing your perspective — but I see no BS to call you out on. 🙂 Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

  2. All great points. Though some people also write for therapeutic reasons and aren’t expecting a huge following. If it happens great. If it doesn’t they’d probably keep writing nonetheless. Bottledworder and Susie81 Speaks come to mind. They could be classified as having gone pro, depending on how you define pro. I like Brain Pickings too – she’s very talented.

    • Wow! How could I miss the therapeutic outlet point? Thanks a lot for that, pixie. I completely agree with you on this one. When all is said and done, blogs are people’s creative outlets, so there’s no point on imposing harsh criteria to everyone. Excellent point. 🙂

      • Thanks 🙂 your points were well made though, and they were a good reminder for myself not to procrastinate by just reading blogs and instead, create (hopefully) meaningful content. I agree with the book/article vs blog point. Generally a book/article has to pass a higher bar to get published.

  3. Whoa! Kudos for getting a Cracked article greenlit. 🙂 That site is my #1 time waster (I have the reader on my phone. And the WordPress app. It’s like we’re twins…). I’ve signed up for their writer’s workshop and have a few pitches brewing- I just want to get into a more regular, consistent writing habit before I run with them so I can commit to finishing the articles if they like what they see.

    What’s your article about (or are you keeping it under wraps for now)?

    • Thanks, Meg. Wow, that’s awesome. I have the Cracked reader, too. 🙂 My pitch made it to the Considering folder, but I just hope people dig it. The editors are super tough, but it blows my mind to actually receive replies from Soren Bowie and Christina H! 🙂

      • Haha, good luck on your pitches. It will seem like they are shooting down your idea, but they’re really refining it. (Wow, I’m giving advices before even getting published. Don’t listen to me.) There’s Brockway, too. He gave me a really good feedback. I admire all of them. By the way, have you read Daniel O’Brien’s interview about how he got into Cracked? I highly recommend it. It inspired me a lot. He’s my second most favorite, after David Wong. 🙂 (I’ll announce the title when it’s accepted, hopefully in a week or two; now it’s in considering folder)

  4. I like the quote, ” You can’t turn on creativity like a faucet…” For me that is very true. Blogs do not replace books or articles for sure and it does take more time to write more and in more depth. And true we write blogs for different reasons.

    • You know, Deborah, you gave me the idea for this post. 🙂 The point you first brought about the too much blog reading being unproductive seem to be resonating in many fellow bloggers. I’m glad that other people agree with us. 🙂

      • Natso I was so tired this morning from the heat, doing my part-time tutoring jobs and reading blogs that I thought I don’t know when I will be able to have the energy to write anything. Somehow I did get inspired again and don’t ask me where it came from. Also there weren’t as many blogs to read today I think.

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